Lena Dunham says her privilege helped her career early on
Lena Dunham acknowledged that white privilege helped her secure her “Girls” deal at HBO when she was 23 years old.
In a series of tweets on Monday, the 34-year-old New York native responded after filmmakers and actors of color began commenting on a tweet from The Hollywood Reporter that read: “@LenaDunham was 23 when she sold #Girls with a page-and-a-half-long pitch, without a character nor a plot.”
“Whenever I find out I’m trending, I have to immediately check if I’m alive,” she wrote. “Then, I try and see if there’s a constructive dialogue to have on Twitter. Often there isn’t, but today there really WAS.
“It actually wasn’t a dialogue. It was just me agreeing that the Hollywood system is rigged in favor of white people and that my career took off at a young age with relative ease, ease I wasn’t able to recognize also because I didn’t know what privilege was.
“The past ten years have been a series of lessons,” she continued. “The lesson now? Sit down. Shut up, unless it’s to advocate for change for Black people. Listen. Make art in private for awhile- no one needs your book right now lady. Give reparations widely. Defund the police. Rinse & repeat.”
Commenting on The Hollywood Reporter tweet, black film professor Ahmed Best tweeted: “I have a masters degree in film and teach film at a top tier university, An over twenty five year professional career and I walk into pitches with a fully realized bible pilot and seven season arc, and often times told it’s not enough. But Lena Dunham, cool.”
MSNBC contributor Jason Johnson compared Dunham to Issa Rae whose show “Insecure” is also on HBO.
“Remember Issa Rae produced TWO viral seasons of Awkward Black Girl on Youtube then made a pit stop at an online outlet before she got a deal for #InsecureHBO,” Johnson wrote. “Lena Dunham showed up with scribbles on a napkin and got a pilot.
“And you wonder why black folks are calling out ABC, Bon Appetit, NYT and MORE media outlets to come about systematic racism and it’s play cousin nepotism.”
Dunham was also criticized for her family background — her parents are both successful artists and she grew up on Soho.
“Girls” premiered in 2012 and was an immediate critical darling, running for six seasons and was executive-produced by Judd Apatow.
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